Malcolm Smith and David Amerson Rebound
Raiders linebacker Malcolm Smith underperformed during the first six weeks of the season, earning poor grades week after week.
Taking a different approach in Jacksonville, Smith finally enters the headline in a positive light.
The veteran linebacker led the team with six solo tackles and earned his best single-game grade of the season (83.4).
In an effort to become more than just a flash in the pan, Smith must string together consecutive strong performances if he is going to dig himself out of the seven-week hole that nearly forced him out of the starting lineup.
Prior to his performance in Jacksonville, Smith ranked 82nd among the 85 eligible linebackers, according to PFF.com. Due in large part to his play on Sunday, he has jumped up to No. 60 on that list.
Though he never dropped to Smith’s level, Amerson fell in PFF’s rankings because of his underwhelming play in recent weeks, but he too rebounded against the Jaguars.
Amerson earned the second highest defensive grade on the team (84.3), holding Jaguars top receiver Allen Robinson to just two receptions for nine yards.
Building a presence both in the middle and outside the hashes of their defense, Smith and Amerson’s play will often dictate the Raiders’ success defensively.
The two built a brick wall on Sunday.